Will a civil matter (i.e. a restraining order) show up in a background check?

My ex-girlfriend had me arrested for harassment and filed a restraining order against me over a misunderstanding. I'm debating whether or not to hire a lawyer because I can't really afford it right now and I think I might be able to beat it on my own. Her lawyer informed me that she doesn't intend to testify against me for the harassment charge, so that should be dropped, but she is trying to make the temporary restraining order permanent. I'd normally just let her have it and not fight it, but I'm high up on the civil servant list for the fire department in NJ. I know they do extensive background checks, and I'm worried that a restraining order will keep me from being hired. This is my main concern. So, should I fight her on this? Is it worth hiring a lawyer that I can't afford?

Union, NJ -

Attorney Answers (1)

Joseph Henry Sparacino

Joseph Henry Sparacino

Divorce / Separation Lawyer - Chicago, IL

You need to speak with an attorney in New Jersey. The criminal case is a problem for you, if you are trying for a government job, domestic violence type cases are a real problem for a government to ignore. If she is not going to testify at the criminal case, that might not stop a conviction based on police testimony. She could even be charged with obstruction of justice for not cooperating. You need your own attorney so your attorney and hers could get the prosecutors to drop the criminal case against you. Then the next step is a formal dismissal of the restrainign order by both parties. After that, then bring all your records to any interview to show there are no pending actions against you. As to what shows in a background check, any filed case is findable for a background check. Don't ignore it, act positively for your future.

This is a general answer and does not address the specifics of your individual case. To give the specific answer... more

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Harassment describes a variety of repetitive behaviors that threaten, disturb, or upset someone. Harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and stalking.

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